Head of Faculty: Miss R.B. Weatherstone
We aim not simply to focus on exam preparation but to provide enjoyable and interesting courses. We stimulate students' interest through the use of challenging material, such as Literature and more advanced grammar for the upper sets, starting in the Third Form. We choose more literary and cultural options than non-literary in the Sixth Form, as this is the best preparation for Higher Education.
We have been following the Cambridge Pre-U course in the Sixth Form since September 2008, which we believe motivates, challenges and rewards the student, prepares them to an outstanding level for university and, importantly, inspires the teachers.
Large numbers of students participate in our two annual French trips, aside from the fact that France is a major tourist destination for Shrewsbury family holidays. Sixth Formers are immersed in a French linguistic and cultural experience in Bordeaux, and there is an annual Lower School Language Study Visit to Montpellier.
Our links with Bordeaux University have provided us with the very best of language Assistants, in the form of our Bordeaux Fellow. In addition to ensuring that students become as fluent as possible in speaking the language, they have inspired students to great effect through helping with the wide range of cultural extra-curricular activities laid on:
- Recent performances directed by Faculty staff of Beckett's play Fin de Partie (Endgame), Feydeau's farce Dormez, je le veux!, Ionesco's La Cantatrice Chauve, Moliere's L'Avare
- French dinners, with guests, and return invitations, from a local school
- French Lunchtime Seminars led by Shrewsbury staff on topics such as Algerian Literature, Gaugin, Linguistics, Montaigne, Camus, The French Resistance, Poetry, Women Writers....
- Trips to university conferences
- Access to French TV
- A French cinema weekend club
- Trips to the theatre or cinema to see French plays or films in Shrewsbury, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
Language learning has been revolutionised over the past decade with the development of technology. We are delighted with the school's investment in multi-media equipment for every classroom - all 10 rooms have a digital multi-media projector, digital and analogue satellite TV and radio, and networked computers with DVD, CD and video. The Multi-Media Room is particularly valued by our students. The combination of audio-visual images and language brings the learning experience alive. The ability to work at one's own pace and choose activities, with teacher support, is a further bonus.
In the last few years two of our students have achieved the distinction of gaining the highest mark in the Pre-U French exam in the country: Jack Flowers in 2012; and Esme O'Keeffe in 2014. In 2014, we were also proud to hear that fomer pupil James Ellis (I 2004-09) was named Language Undergraduate of the Year: www.shrewsbury.org.uk/news/old-salopian-language-undergraduate-year-2014
Many of our students go on to study French at university, including most years, Oxford and Cambridge.